This Country Has the Most Powerful Passport in the World

Can we please apply for citizenship?


When you’re leaving for an international trip, a passport is the single most important thing to double-check you remembered. Remembering to pack it is almost as important as remembering these important things to know about your passport. After all, it’s your one ticket to get out of the country—and get back in. Passports are powerful, but not all are created equal.

Depending on what passport you own, you’ll need a visa to get into different countries. For instance, a U.S. passport is all you need to get into Peru. If you decide to head to Brazil while you’re there, though, you’ll need to apply for a visa. But a Peruvian passport would let you cross the border into Brazil without a visa.

Naturally, some passports will get you into more countries visa-free than others. Global financial advisory firm Arton Capital ranked every country’s passport from most to least powerful, based on how many countries it would give access to without a visa. The Passport Index updates in real-time when new visa rules come out, and you can even explore passports by country or by color. Find out what your passport color really means.

Currently, the United Arab Emirates reigns as the most powerful passport in the world. It gets their owners into 177 countries without a visa. In second place are Finland, Luxembourg, and Spain which all give access to 169 countries. But none will cross a border if you’re part of this weird rule that considers some valid passports expired.

The United States, which has 168 visa-free countries on its list, doesn’t come in until the third group. It’s tied with Denmark, Italy, Netherlands, Austria, Portugal, Japan, South Korea, and Ireland.

Count yourself lucky if you don’t rely on an Afghanistan passport—that document is the least powerful, only letting citizens into 34 countries without a visa. After that comes Iraq, with 36 visa-free options, and Pakistan and Syria both with only 39.

Visa or not, make sure you avoid these airport mistakes that could ruin your vacation.

Marissa Laliberte
Marissa Laliberte-Simonian is a London-based associate editor with the global promotions team at WebMD’s and was previously a staff writer for Reader's Digest. Her work has also appeared in Business Insider, Parents magazine, CreakyJoints, and the Baltimore Sun. You can find her on Instagram @marissasimonian.